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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 13, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Sitka Black-tailed Deer
Sitka black-tailed deer are closely related to the larger Columbia black-tailed deer of the Pacific Northwest, and both are considered subspecies of the (even larger) mule deer of the American West according to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Fawns are born in early June and weigh 6-8 pounds at birth. he average October weight of adults is about 80 pounds for females (does) and 120 pounds for males (bucks), although bucks of over 200 pounds have been reported. The average life-span of a Sitka black-tail is about 10 years,
but some live as long as 15 years.
Front Page Feature Photo By DOUG BURKMAN ©2017

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Southeast Alaska: Standing Tall in Bartlett Cove: Eagle and Raven Totem Raising - The serene shores of Glacier Bay have become even more meaningful with the raising of two spectacular Tlingit totem poles in Bartlett Cove. In a heartwarming day of friendship and collaboration, the Hoonah Indian Association (HIA), and the National Park Service (NPS) joined together in the spirit of Woosh ji.een and raised the 20-foot, 2,000 pound red cedar totems into place on May 23rd. Elaborate carvings on the Eagle and Raven poles were designed by Hoonah Indian Association to represent the various clans associated with Hoonah and Glacier Bay homeland.

Standing Tall in Bartlett Cove: Eagle and Raven Totem Raising

Raising the Eagle Pole
The 20-foot Eagle Pole is gingerly maneuvered into place in front of the Huna Tribal House
Photo credit NPS

The day began early as tribal members boarded Allen Marine catamarans in Juneau and Hoonah. Upon arriving in the waters of Glacier Bay, both vessels were met by Eagle and Raven clan members in two dugout canoes. Traditional welcomes and messages of friendship set a perfect tone for the day; a day where the clans and the park “held each other up,” in support and respect.

Drumming, singing, and colorful regalia were on full display in a procession from the dock to the tribal house. For the final distance, each totem was hand carried by tribal members, partners and National Park Service staff. Tlingit voices and song mingled with the sounds of loons, thrushes, and children playing along the shore as an honored speaker from each clan represented on the pole described the significance of their crest. Reverence for ancestors and for today’s youth were recurring messages heard throughout the day.

"The joyful celebration of the raising of the Raven and Eagle pole felt more like a gathering of friends and family than a government and tribal event,” noted Glacier Bay Superintendent Philip Hooge. For safety and efficiency, Hoonah Indian Association chose to raise these poles onto their bases using mechanical equipment. Even so, it was a major challenge. The audience collectively held their breath as each heavy pole was slowly lifted and gingerly maneuvered by straps and skilled hands.  

When the Eagle totem was secured in place, and rain began to fall, the welcoming warmth of Xunaa Shuká Hít was appreciated by all. Hoonah City School students were an integral part of the celebration. Students ranging in age from 5 to 18 sang songs written by high school students on a previous visit to Glacier Bay and an elaborately adorned drum, made by student Vanessa Williams, was presented to the National Park Service as a gift for the Tribal House. Speeches, dancing, and celebration brought the day’s events to a close. Drumming and song filled Bartlett Cove as catamarans prepared their return. Both vessels slowly cruised past the shoreline to provide one last look. It was clear that as a physical manifestation of pride in culture, strengthening connections to homeland, and the success of collaboration, the Eagle and Raven poles now stand tall for all to see.  - More...
Tuesday PM - June 13, 2017

Columbia's propeller system needs additional repairs - The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) announced today that due to ongoing repairs the M/V Columbia will require additional time at Vigor Shipyard in Portland, Oregon. 

Columbia's propeller system needs additional repairs

M/V Columbia undergoing repairs at Vigor Shipyard in Portland, Oregon this spring.
Photo courtesy AMHS

The Columbia went in for repairs after a suspected propeller strike with an unknown object last September. The parts necessary for the system required fabrication in Germany and took several months to manufacture. The propeller repairs were made and considered successful, and the vessel proceeded to sea trials to test the new system. While on sea trials the vessel experienced another mechanical failure related to the newly installed propeller system. 

Currently, technicians are working to diagnose the new failure and are developing a new repair plan. Once repairs are made the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping will certify the vessel as safe to operate

This delay will impact some passengers. Affected passengers are being notified by AMHS staff now. The M/V Malaspina is currently running in the Columbia’s place, and will continue until the Columbia is back in service on July 26. The Malaspina is a smaller vessel, therefore some passengers will not get the cabins they reserved and some vehicle reservations will be cancelled. - More....
Tuesday PM - June 13, 2017

Alaska: Increased Sea Ice Drift Puts Polar Bears on Faster Moving Treadmill - A new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming found that increased westward ice drift in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas requires polar bears to expend more energy walking eastward on a faster moving “treadmill” of sea ice.  


A polar bear walks across rubble ice in the Alaska portion of the southern Beaufort Sea, April 8, 2011
Credit: Mike Lockhart, USGS. Public domain

These findings represent the first assessment of the consequences of changing drift rates for polar bears; one of several previously unexplored effects of sea ice loss.

“Increased sea ice drift rates likely exacerbate the physiological stress due to reduced foraging opportunity already experienced by many polar bears in the warming Arctic,” said Dr. George Durner, research ecologist with the USGS and lead author of the report, “adding yet another ‘straw to the camel’s back.’”

The results were derived from radio-tracking data of collared adult female polar bears in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas coupled with sea ice drift data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The data, comprising of over 77,000 bear locations and matching ice drift values, were collected during two periods with different sea ice characteristics, 1987-1998 and 1999-2013. “These were very intensive analyses requiring advanced computational capabilities,” said Dr. Shannon Albeke a spatial ecologist with the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center. “It was probably the most complicated analysis of my career.”

“This study demonstrates the unparalleled value of long-term uninterrupted data collection,” said Dr. Merav Ben-David from the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming. “Without access to the ice data from NSIDC, and the interagency and international cooperation, we could not have conducted this project.” - More...
Tuesday PM - June 13, 2017

Wildlife Recovery Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was Highly Variable Across Species

Alaska Sea Otter
Photo Credit: Benjamin Weitzman, U.S. Geological Survey

Alaska: Wildlife Recovery Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was Highly Variable Across Species - Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.

This information may have important implications when responding to other oil spills, when conducting damage assessment studies after spills and when considering the environmental risks associated with extracting and shipping oil.

“Because wildlife species in the spill area vary so much in terms of what they eat, habitats that they use, and their ability to rebound after a drop in numbers, researchers saw huge differences in how long it took for populations to recover,” said Dan Esler, a Research Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and lead author of a recently released paper on the subject. “Some species were barely affected, others such as bald eagles, rebounded quickly, and other species took much longer to recover, such as sea otters.”

In addition to differences in the time required for full recovery, USGS and collaborators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon State University, and the North Gulf Oceanic Society identified ecological factors that affected the degree of injury: - More...
Tuesday PM - June 13, 2017



jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: Ensuring High School Grads are Equipped for Citizenship - "I may have to do WHAT to receive my high school diploma?"

"Pass a U.S. citizenship exam. The Civics Education Initiative is hoping state legislatures will require high school students in all 50 states to pass the exam in order to graduate. Some states, such as Arizona, have already passed such a law."

"But my high school made me take American history courses, and I got straight A’s."

"Great for you, but many studies show that many Americans are pathetically ignorant of basic facts about their government and its unique history." "If it becomes a requirement for high school graduation, how will this citizenship test work?"

"You’ll have to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U. S. history and civics taken from the United States Citizenship Civics Test - the test all immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship must pass. You’ll have to answer at least 60 percent of the questions correctly to pass."

"Can you help me prepare for these questions, sir?"

"Sure, young fellow. What is the Declaration of Independence?"

"It is an amazing document, sir. Thomas Jefferson wrote to King George III, telling him to stuff it. The Declaration said that all men are created equal, that the power of government comes from the people, that people can change the government if they don’t like it, and that individuals have unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

"OK, why were the colonists so upset with the Brits that they declared independence?"

"Well, sir, this was because of the Stamp Act, the high taxes imposed on every piece of paper they used. This ‘taxation without representation’ infuriated the colonists and motivated their desire for independence."

"Fascinating. I didn’t know that, either, young fellow. OK, what was the Constitutional Convention?" - More...
Tuesday PM - June 13, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Tweety Birds

Editorial Cartoon: Tweety Birds
By Nate Beeler ©2017, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Use for Taku By A. M. Johnson - As a suggestion regarding the Alaska Ferry Taku currently for sale without any apparent takers at what is soon to be a ridiculous reduced price. Would it not be better than paying a huge mooring sum while making the sales attempt, to move the Taku to Juneau and provide housing and meals for the legislature. Rather than paying out $250 dollars a day per legislator, provide room and board. - More...
Tuesday PM - June 13, 2017

letter State Spending By Nancy Amend - Cut government spending first! Once a tax is implemented it will only increase with mis/overspending not being resolved. Alaska's government has 95% of the PFD, why are they taking any of the people's 5%? - More...
Tuesday PM - June 13, 2017

letter Child marriage is a human rights abuse By John Suter - I saw on One American News that the state of Alaska allows girls at the young age of only 14 to be able to get married.  This is outrageous.  Sec.25.05.171 needs to be corrected so that the state does not have child marriages.  It needs to be corrected to the age of 18.  If a girl is too young to vote, then that girl is too young to marry. - More...
Tuesday PM - June 13, 2017

letter Alaska's fiscal situation By Rodney Dial - Visualize the State of Alaska as a large lifeboat. On that boat half the seats are in the middle and half are on the outside edges. Those sitting on the edges, the workers, are paddling while those in the middle are enjoying the free ride and first class services. This continues for some time until the boat hits a fiscal iceberg and begins to sink. - More...
Friday PM - June 09, 2017

letter Looming Government Shutdown By Senator Berta Gardner - For years, Republicans in the legislature have stonewalled all efforts to create a stable, durable fiscal plan.  This must stop.  We cannot accept a plan simply because it averts a government shut down this year, while all but guaranteeing one next year. The can has been kicked far enough and it’s time for a long-term solution. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017

letter Finding fiscal waste By A. M. Johnson - In a citizen's effort to assist in finding areas of the state budget woes, the following site and information was passed to Representative Ortiz [Dan]. Knowing Dan's desire to fine solutions along with refining departmental cost it is felt that Dan will confirm the numbers this report exposes and take the appropriate actions to eliminate the obvious always hidden from the public, cost to taxpayers that needn't be. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017

letter Understanding the Legislative Standoff: The House Plan Versus the Senate Plan By Ghert Abbott - The best way to understand the reasons behind the current legislative standoff is to examine the House Majority’s fiscal plan and the Senate Majority’s fiscal plan side by side, in order to determine their respective goals and values. - More...
Monday PM - June 05, 2017

letter State Shutdown By Lance Clark - So now Governor Walker and the Alaska House Majority Coalition are saying if we can't have an income tax, i.e. our money, they'll shut down the state. All I can say is I hope they never get elected for anything anywhere ever again. - More...
Friday PM - June 02, 2017

letter The Solution is in the Non-Partisan Middle By Rep. Dan Ortiz - As of June 1st, the Alaska State Legislature is in the middle of the “special session” called by Governor Bill Walker. The Governor called us into special session because we reached the end of the 121st day of regular legislative session without fulfilling our one required legislative duty – to pass a state operating and capital budget out of both the House and the Senate for the Governor’s signature. The two bodies are currently at odds and at nearly a standstill over the issue of establishing a fiscal plan. So far, there has been no compromise to find the middle ground. - More...
Friday PM - June 02, 2017

letter Boy Scouts Camporee By Drace Mattson - I got to go on a campout with three Boy Scout troops and it was really fun. We had a smoked pig and cooking challenges. There were lots of fun challenges for us to compete in. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 30, 2017

letter Thank the Republican Party By Norbert Chaudhary - I'd like to personally thank Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan as well as Congressman Don Young for their unwavering and unquestioning support of President Donald Trump. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 30, 2017

letter Permanent Fund By Norma Lankerd - Just FYI, I'm born in ALaska, received every permanent dividend since it was established when Governor Jay Hammond got it all set up. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 30, 2017

letter European Immigrant Problems By Donald Moskowitz - A truck assault in Berlin Germany is one of many problems Germany is experiencing with 1 million Middle East and North African immigrants, mostly young males, who are committing murders, robberies and assaults on German Christians and Jews, especially women; and Chancellor Merkel wants to take in another 1 million. The German interior minister said German citizens with dual nationalities who are terrorists and/or a threat to national security should be deported.- More...
Tuesday PM - May 30, 2017

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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for

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